hello, contentment? are you there?

I’ve been thinking about this for a long time and hopefully I’m not the only one. For a few years, probably since I finished grad school, I’ve felt like I’ve been measuring and marking my life by certain events. As if every life needs to follow a scripted, mapped out plan. Writing this post doesn’t mean I want to change “the plan,” but more how I view the plan and how I let it dictate my thoughts and actions.

I kind of look at my life like a scrapbook and it needs to have certain pictures in it. Not for anyone else, but for me to feel like I “checked that box.” The scrapbook, in my mind, looks something like this: get a driver’s license, get a car (used, new doesn’t matter), graduate high school, go to college, turn 21, graduate college, go to grad school, finish grad school, start a job, meet “the one”, get engaged, get married, buy a house, have a baby, have another baby, have another baby…. Then what? What do you wait for and wish for next?

When Todd and I were serious and knew that we’d get married someday, I spent so many months waiting and wishing that we’d get engaged. I knew that we would someday and that he loved me and wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. But I became obsessed with getting engaged and having the label to go with it. I think mostly so I could move onto the next exciting thing in my life with him.

Why do I put my life into such big milestones? Why can’t I live each day just for what it is and be happy with where I am right now? This was a recent Bible study topic in our girls study of Priscilla Shirer’s “Can We Talk?”

My current contentment issue is with our house situation. I just kind of feel like we’re waiting and praying and I’m becoming impatient. I don’t know why I want the change so badly. I mean, I know why I want to move, but I need to just wait and see what the Lord wants us to do while I sit back, pray, and enjoy my life.

My other thought that has recently begun creeping into my mind is the thought of having another baby. I’m definitely not ready for another baby, but I’ve always thought that I wanted my kids to be two years apart in age. Hudson will be a year old in June. I’d have to start thinking about getting pregnant soon after that in order to have a second baby by Hudson’s second birthday. It’s not something I really like to think about, so I don’t. But I do feel a little bit of pressure to think about the long run and what the best time frame to have a second child would be. And I have no idea if getting pregnant the second time around would be as easy as it was the first time. I don’t know what’s going to happen to my body after I have surgery in May. The thought of actually being pregnant just makes me tired, but I know that I want the precious reward at the end.

So why am I doing this? Why am I thinking and planning so much rather than just being still and content in my wonderful little life as it is?

After Hudson was born, my mom joked that I needed to take a break from big life events for a while. Actually, she wasn’t joking. Between ages 24 and 27, I got engaged, got married, and had a baby. That’s a lot to handle– and not just for me. It was a lot on the people that love me and helped take care of me, too.

People find their fulfillment through different things. I am a Christian and a child of God and find so much fulfillment from my relationship with Him. And I am very happy with my life. I can’t stress that enough. But I do feel like I’m always waiting for the next thing– and there may not be another “next big thing” for my life. There will be for my son’s life, but I’m hoping to not be one of those moms that lives her child’s life to find her happiness. I will be happy for him, but I don’t want his life events to become my identity.

And there are obviously the people, couples, and families that don’t want some of those milestones to happen in their lives. Not everyone wants kids or wants to get married. But maybe there’s something work-related that you’re waiting for.

Does anyone else do this? Do you feel like you’re constantly waiting for the next big thing to happen? What if there isn’t anything big that happens? Why isn’t the idea of waking up, living your daily life, and going to bed good enough?

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Comments

  1. says

    SO glad you posted this – thanks for your honesty, Erin. As I went through college/grad school/work, my desire to get a gold star and check things off a list persisted. In three years, I moved, got engaged, got married and had a baby. Whew. And now I’m transitioning from the full-time work world to a life where my priorities are totally different and I find my value in something new. It’s a challenge and a constant reminder to put my focus on what has real value – being a child of God, created in His image and walking according to His plan. I’m not perfect and I’m no where near achieving that goal, but it’s nice to know I’m not alone!

  2. says

    I’m not as much a planner of the sequence of events but I do have a problem enjoying the moment, especially if it’s good because i’m always waiting for the “other shoe to drop”. God has been teaching me the “secret of being content in any and every situation whether in plenty or in want”. It’s hard to slow down and find the good in the now or in the current circumstances…but I’ve found you can always move forward but you can’t ever go back. Great post!

  3. says

    I can totally relate to this sometimes!

    First I spent so much time just wanting to be married — I got engaged on my 24th birthday and married right after my 25th — in thats same time period we bought our condo. I thought I was just going to be able to relax for a while and enjoy life — heck I was way ahead of most of friends in that I had a great job, had found “the one”, and owned a home.

    Flash forward 1.5 yrs late – now I’m all restless wanting to sell our condo and buy a home in antoher city so we can start a family. I set some arbitrary date in my mind that I want to start trying for a baby at age 28 and time keeps ticking toward that. I find myself getting all bitter that the housing market has not given us enough equity to move from our condo — even though I love our condo!

    I try to pray:
    “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” – Philippians 4:12-13

    But it is a struggle.

  4. says

    Erin….. you will NEVER begin to know how much this post spoke to me and how timely it was. I am in the ending stages of school and my heart’s desire is to move to Nashville from my little town in Florida when I get out, whenever that is. I am a small town girl with huge dreams and trying to find contentment in the here and now until those dreams become a reality, it’s hard… but something you have to do or you’ll never be happy and always wanting the next best thing instead of being happy with where God has you right now. A million thank you’s go out to you for this!!!

  5. says

    This is exactly how I felt about getting engaged! Once I knew we were going to get married eventually, I became a woman obsessed! And then once we were married, I immediately began suffering from post-wedding baby fever. For the first time, I felt like I actually wanted to have a baby in reality, not just in theory. It took me a while to realize that I don’t want to actually reproduce just yet, it’s more that I finally feel like I have found the father of my children, and that now that we are married, I look forward to one day having a baby with him.

    I also realize now that I grieved the end of each chapter we have left behind. I was sad when I realized I didn’t have a boyfriend anymore, I miss being engaged (the excitement, NOT the planning!). I love being his wife even more, but I am a little sad I was impatient to jump on to the next phase instead of enjoying where we were. It was just so wonderful, and I feel like I might have hurried it along unnecessarily. Maybe that will help you, to think of how you will feel once you have moved on to the next chapter. It’s helped me take life slower.

  6. Sara says

    Thank you so much for sharing so openly. I feel the same way a lot of the time. My husband is getting his PhD and I so much just want it be finished so we can move onto the house and baby checklist. I struggle with contentment to and enjoying what God has given to me right now. It’s nice to hear someone else be honest about this. Thank you for sharing your life, it’s a blessing to me.

  7. says

    I can definitely relate to this post. I am post-married (married last May) and pre-baby (we want kids, but we’re not quite sure when we’ll start trying- he’s not quite as ready as I am!). I felt the same way after we bought our first home, after I was ready to get engaged, after I got engaged, after i got married… it seems like I am always looking ahead to the NEXT big thing. What happens after you’ve had [2/ or insert your own number here] kids– THEN what do you look forward to?
    I think the biggest challenge is to look at these BIG ticket items as something that helps shape the rest of your life. Getting married helped SHAPE your future of being a wife. Giving birth Hudson is similar. It helped SHAPE your future of being a mom. Giving birth wasn’t the be-all-and-end-all. It didn’t end the day he was born. Instead, that “task” to mark down in your scrapbook is just beginning.
    For me, that has been a big realization. Once I was done planning the wedding, and we arrived home from our honeymoon, I felt a bit of a let down. I felt that “now what” feeling. But I realized that my “now what” is BEING a wife.
    I think the second key to this is passion. You need to find your passion. So many of us (me included) do not find our passions. We are so preoccupied with being a wife, a mom, a daughter, a friend, that we fill these roles day-in-and-day-out. Finding a TRUE passion helps light our lives each day, rather than waiting for the “next big thing.” For me, I think this might be photography. This is something I have always wanted to try, but haven’t gotten into. I take tons of pictures, but use a point-and-shoot. I’d love to REALLY learn about the crazy cameras, take a class, etc etc…

  8. Stephanie says

    I couldn’t have said it better myself. I am constantly waiting for the next big thing. I can relate to what you said about waiting to get engaged, get married, have a house, etc. Shoot, I even do it in my everyday life and live for the weekend. I don’t like that I do it, but it just happens. I feel like in general men are much more content than women. I think women are natural planners and we are always ready and waiting for the next thing. Almost to the point where it handicaps us. I don’t know how to fix the problem, but know that you are not alone.

  9. says

    Oh Erin…I can definitely relate to this for sure!

    For so long I have been waiting for our life to start. To leave Cleveland…to buy a house…to have a child. To really feel like I am grown up and married, you know? But I realized one day that I didn’t want to spend my whole marriage waiting. And why do I think that God’s plan is the same as my plan?? So now instead of praying for a job offer or a beautiful house we can afford…I pray for God’s will to be done everyday in my life. It’s a tough prayer to live by…to put aside what I want and try to figure out what God wants. But I’m a work in progress 🙂

  10. says

    I can sooooo totally relate to this right now. Currently I live in St. Louis with my husband. We moved from Florida out here for his job and so I had to give up my full time job to make the move. We’ve been out here almost a year and I still don’t have a full time job and I miss being in the South something fierce. There is the possibility (fingers crossed!) that he could find a job working at the University of South Carolina in a couple years. I have become so fixated on that next part of life, the part that comes after this time where it feels like we are just waiting it out so much that I do worry that I’m missing the now. That future scenario which seems so appealing (back in the South, closer to family, closer to having a child) sometimes seems too good to be true. I pray a lot but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t still on my mind. Its nice to know that others deal with these issues too!

  11. says

    These kinds of feelings are part of my hesitancy to have a baby… I know I want kids but I’d love to stretch this part of our lives out a bit more, because I feel like “Baby” is one of the last big check-marks on life’s list… After I check that off, what’s left? And I’m like you – after one baby, I want another one shortly thereafter so they’ll be 2-3 years apart in age.

    Years ago (gettin’ analytical here!), people didn’t live well into their 80s like we do now… With our long life expectancies, we accomplishing the majority of what we tend to think of as “major life events” in the first third of our lives! Living the remaining 2/3s of our lives without “the next big thing” constantly on the horizon makes for some uneasiness, I think.

    I wish I had the answer… Living in the moment and being content is terribly difficult for me!

  12. says

    I feel like I could have written this post myself. I always feel like I have to have something to look forward to and something to plan for. We were married less than a year ago and are waiting another 6months or so to start trying for a baby. I’m antsy about 6months and advocating to make some house changes (redecorating or moving), or something of the sort. I’m always planning for the next thing, even if it’s just planning for the weekend.

    Some people are just planners and it’s hard to stop planning and just be satisfied. Sometimes, I think it’s not always a bad thing, it’s how people get ahead in jobs, etc, but I know I need to learn to be satisfied and find some sort of balance as well.

    Thanks for sharing!

    BTW Love that country song! 🙂

  13. says

    This really resonates with me- I’ve realized now, with a little guilt, that I wish I’d enjoyed my “engaged” period a little more as it was all over so soon. I worry what I’m missing by keeping my eye on the “prize” or milestone ahead.

  14. says

    ***This is me, this this exactly where i am and to be honest it is a lonely place. For me, everything happened so fast in the last 8 years; graduated high school, go to college, got engaged, transfer to another college two years later, graduated college, got a job, got married, moved to a new state, had our son…..now what? I found that within the last few month i have been having feelings of jealously towards friends who are pregnant but why?!? I was so confused over it and after a long talk with my mom one day came to the realization that i was because they have something that they are working towards and looking forward to while i am just living and i have never just lived everyday doing the same thing and not working towards any huge change.

  15. says

    This is such an excellent and thought-provoking topic.

    I used to feel this way ALL THE TIME.

    College? Grad school? Meet Mr. Right? Get engaged? Married? Buy a house? CHECK!

    But then the next step is usually children and that is where looking to the next big milestone went WAY off course. Now I feel like we’re just living life. I have no idea what our future brings, but I’m excited nonetheless.

    Writing a novel, teaching at a university, pursuing an MBA, and having lots of furbabies were never a part of my “life plan”. Somewhere between getting married and now, I woke up to a new life plan. And it’s scary and thrilling and fun!

    Then again, there are downsides to this too. Most people around me don’t understand that we threw the “traditional” life plan out the window. They want us to do things their way and it’s been the cause to many a disagreement.

    XOXOXO. ILY, friend.

  16. says

    A very honest and lovely post. I was just thinking about this myself as I had new carpets put in and immediately started thinking about when I can remodel my kitchen. Contentment is something I strive for myself!

  17. says

    Thank you for the post. I find myself feeling the exact same way but under different circumstances. I turn 30 this year, I thought I would have ‘accomplished’ so much more by this point. In my ‘younger days’ I thought 30 was old and I’d be married with kids, hugely successful career woman, etc. etc. I put some unrealistic expectations on myself and didn’t realize that is was OK to be me, and not feel bad about not achieving this goals.

    Now that I’m close to 30 and we’re thinking about having kids. I’m scared we won’t be able to have them when we decide to have them. We’re waiting for the ‘right time’. We’re waiting for a period of stablility in our lives that has really had none in 3 years.

    I feel like I’m suppose to have a career, but right now I have a job. I feel like I want so much more than I have but I don’t know what that is, how to get that, and what I’ll do if I actually get it….

  18. says

    Thank you for this honest post. One thing that keeps me going is knowing that just becasue we pray for something to happen doesn’t mean it’s right for us. God answers prayers every day and sometimes that answer is a “No”. I’ve had several no’s in my life and looking back I’m glad that was His answer to me.

    We too struggle with the “what’s next?” questions. We’re both in our thirties and I’ll be 33 on my next birthday. The thought of children weighs on me very heavily. How long can I wait? Will I have enough energy not being a “young mom”? But for the here and the now, I’m taken care of and have everything I need and most of what I want. It’s the little things, right?

  19. says

    Thank You for THIS! I feel exactly the same way, and I’m finding my mind running in 100 directions while I’m spending time with Madelyn and I hate that, because she deserves All of my attention. I am constantly thinking about all of the to do’s, if I can go part-time when we have baby #2, what do we do if our house doesn’t sell (it’s on the market), etc etc. Things that do matter, but in the grand scheme of things, are not going to be solved by my constant thought and worry. Continue to pray about it (I’m doing the same!) and I’m sure you’ll find some peace of mind about enjoying the status quo.

  20. says

    It’s like you’re reading my mind! This has been on my mind so much lately. I think because I’m falling into the gap between the nexts: get married (check), graduate college (check–yes, I got married while in college), buy house (check), get grown up job (check), husband graduates college (check)….now what? We had hoped to have kids by now, but, we don’t, so, kids seems to be the next thing to “check” if you will (but please know that I do not view having children as “check marks” I’m just using that term for argument sake here) and I want to have children and be a mother so badly but, it’s just not in the near future and it makes me so sad. It becomes hard to find peace and happiness in the daily things when you feel like you are constantly “waiting”.

    Sorry I just rambled on a giantic comment about ME. That was lame.

    Anyways…. I know that through prayer and faith and patience (! not my virtue) we’ll both find peace and answers 🙂

  21. says

    OH yes I can definitely relate. I was the same way with engagement and I feel like I wasted some fun dating years being frustarted that I wasn’t engaged yet. I feel like I have gotten better at this recently, but sometimes the un-commitment bug rears it’s ugly head. I think it will be a constant battle for me and something that I have to learn to “conquer” often.

  22. says

    I think that a ton of people can relate to you. I know I can. My husband and I started dating 4 years ago and after the first year and many talks of getting engaged/married, it was like I couldn’t wait. I will be 24 this summer and he will be 25 in April, so we are young like you. We both knew we were going to spend the rest of our lives together, so it was only a matter of time. As soon as we got engaged, the stressful wedding planning was in full force and I was super overwhelmed. Now, we are married and living in our first house (rented from my parents) and can’t help but constantly talk about building a house of our own or buying our first real house together. Also, babies are constantly on my brain (and his as well), but then we find ourselves saying, “what is the rush? we are so young?” So I completely understand where you are coming from. And then there is family asking when we are going to start having a family, etc. It’s a lot at once! I think that we are all in the same boat with this one.

  23. says

    I can COMPLETELY relate to this. It seems as though I’ve spent my entire life checking things off a very similar list (college, grad school, great job, engaged, married, buy a house, etc.) and now that I’ve nearly finished my list I find myself feeling not the sense of accomplishment I was expecting, but rather just sort of drifting. To complicate matters, my Mr. (also an attorney!) was laid off from his firm recently…and dealing with unemployment was definitely NOT on the to-do list!

    Now, I want so badly to change things – to find a new purpose, a new goal – because going through the motions and trying to be contented while waiting for life to work out gives me so much anxiety!

  24. says

    Thanks for sharing your struggles. This is something that I also deal with, particularly professionally– always planning for the next project/grant/position. I don’t have any answers, but its nice to know there are others who are dealing with this too. Hang in there!

  25. Mallory says

    I’ve never commented before, Erin, but have been a long-time reader. This post definitely spoke to me, as I’ve been struggling with being patient and waiting on God’s timing for my boyfriend to propose. A couple of nights ago, a friend affirmed what you just have again: the Lord is in control and we can either trust (and rest!) in that or spend much of our time worrying/anticipating the “next big thing.” Thanks for the reminder to step back and live each day at a time, for the glory of our Lord. 🙂

  26. says

    Oh my word, I TOTALLY RELATE!!! I am in the just married and started my career but no house or babies stage. I feel like I constantly thing about having a baby and buying a house! I just pray that God will help me be totally present in the moment. I know each stage of life is precious. But yanno, I also think it is okay to dream a little bit too. Keeps you movin foward!

  27. says

    I got married in 2004. Had a baby in 2005. Another baby in 2006. A surprise baby in 2009. All before I turned 30. I often wonder… what will I do when my life calms down? When my 3 kids are in elementary school someday. Will I enjoy the calm or feel like I almost NEED chaos to feel normal? I don’t like chaos, but it’s been such a constant in my life that.. .not only do I look for the next big thing… but, sickly and subconsciously, I look for the next big thing that’s going to overwhelm me. I almost seek it out because I feel like I’m not challenging myself if I’m in a really good place where I can handle everything. Wow, now that I’ve written that out, that makes me sound kinda crazy. I am so blessed. God is good. And what I’m trying to do now is shift my focus from the next big thing in MY life to the next big thing in my KIDS’ lives. Lots to look forward to…

  28. USCEmily says

    I struggle with contentment, too, Erin. And also what Amy described as “Waiting for the other shoe to drop.” Sometimes I find that it’s hard to be content when all of my friends are happily married. But, like you said, once that happens, there will probably be other things that I want. And, like Amy, even when things are going great (which they are right now), I feel like something is bound to happen to throw it off course. I am trying to worry less, though, because at a recent women’s retreat, the speaker defined worry as sin because it means I’m not trusting God. What an eye opener!

  29. says

    Oh yes girl! I did college, sorority, marriage, junior league, law school, clerking, baby, another baby, childhood league, etc. and then it hit me. I wasn’t enjoying what God had given me. I was just living by my usual Type A personality of checking things off a list and never being good enough. For heavens sake, even when I was skinny (pre kids) I thought I needed to lose 10 pounds. But now my kids (ages 2 an 4) want a fun mom, not an uptight mom and so I asked God to change my perspective. AND HE DID:) I now enjoy things much more and I’m learning to let God control things (this is super hard for me). I also had to back away from all things that didn’t glorify God. I think the condition of never feeling satisfied is in each of us. The only thing that can really satisfy is giving every thing, big or small, up in prayer to God. Good luck girl:) You’re not alone in this battle!

  30. says

    I’ve been reading your blog for awhile and I love it!
    I haven’t commented before now, but your post struck such a chord with me!
    I recently went through a breakup from a 5 1/2 year relationship and I think the demise of the relationship was because I lived my life the exact way you are talking about. I had it all planned out, always waiting for the next milestone in life and in my relationship.
    Why are we wired like that?! Is it society? Is it a woman thing?
    Over the past 2 months I have had to wake up every day and tell myself, only life for today. Don’t have expectations for the future. Now that my future is COMPLETELY unknown, it is a scary thought!
    But with the help of the Lord I know I will get through it, and you will too! What a great bible study topic, I bet it hit home with a lot of the members in your group!

    Love the blog!

  31. says

    After reading through the post and all the comments, I realize that I am in the same sitch as most upper 20’s-30 somethings out there. Yes, I did college, MBA, moved across the country, got engaged, and got married last year. But I am lucky enough to feel contentment at this point in my life… I can get my “planner/check the box fix” by making fun weekend or travel plans (money permitting, of course) which gives me just enough to look forward to not mind that the years of being a starry-eyed 20 something college student, fiance, and bride are behind me. I do agree that it is about finding passions outside your job, role as a wife, mother, friend, etc. Having a passion provides the neccessary distraction to the “mundaness” of regular life.

  32. says

    I think at our age (I am 27 too) there are so many expectations, both from others and ourselves. It’s as if there is some sort of checklist for life. Sometimes it is hard to let that go and just be.

  33. Molly says

    I can totally relate to this post. I also find myself not wanting the next event to come in fear that I won’t have another big event to look forward to. I think it’s a normal feeling for most.

  34. says

    I really enjoyed this post. I think we all do this. I know I do. Lately I have been trying to step back and really enjoy the time we’re in. But I struggle with patience and bordom. I am bored of my job and I am impatient for my husband to graduate law school and get a job and know where we are going and what we are going to do. It’s so easy to fall back into the ruitine of waiting for the next big thing. Anyway, I appreciate your open honesty in this post. I think it’s helpful to know other’s are struggling with this, especially other christians. I sometimes wonder what is wrong with me that I can’t simply turn this over to God and enjoy today. So it helps to know I am not alone.

  35. says

    Excellent, excellent post Erin. This is something that I struggle with every single day especially since my path has been different from my IRL friends and blog friends. I didn’t meet my Mr. Right until I was 30 and didn’t get married until I was 33 so all of the plans that I made in my mind were way off track. I often wonder too why the day to day isn’t enough? Why must I always search for the next big milestone.

  36. says

    I relate this in terms of having a “map” of your life and not knowing what to do when the map runs out. My map ran out a year after I graduated college when I finished up a really wonderful internship. Since then (almost 6 years ago!), I’ve felt like I’ve been in a holding pattern waiting for the next big thing – meeting Mr. Right, figuring out what my dream job would be, actually getting that dream job – to happen to me. And it hasn’t yet. So I wait. The funny thing is in the meantime I’ve actually bought a condo by myself, but for some reason that doesn’t feel like something to “check off” because I feel like I’ve done it out of order and that when I am married and we buy a house together that only then can it be significant. Logically I realize that this is not a way to happily live your life – I should be pursuing the things I can in a time when I have this freedom – but it is so difficult for me to wake up and stop just waiting around for things to come my way and be my “map” again.

  37. says

    I can relate, and here’s what I’ve decided for myself: the problem is in believing that life is linear, not cyclical. Make sense? I was viewing things on one dimension – time – and seeing them mapped out on a timeline. But life doesn’t work that way. Life happens in every direction, so I was only seeing the external milestones, not the internal ones. And, while I don’t want to get off topic here, it took a divorce and some growing up for me to realize that I needed to focus on personal growth more than timelines.

    Boy, has it helped. So now I think: who do I want to be, and what do I need to do to get there? {Rather than, WHERE do I want to be, and how do I get there?}

  38. says

    Erin you are singing my song here, lyric for lyric! Thank you for this post!

    I feel the same pressure to check off milestones, and lately I’ve had a lot of frustration because I feel like I’m falling behind on the life plan. College- check, work-check, grad school- almost done, meet “the guy”- thought I was done there too… but now it looks like maybe not. I’m really worried that the milestones I can controll are wrapping up, but instead of feeling satisfied and proud of myself, I’m panicky that I’ll never get married & start a family. I’m worried that maybe I was so focused on the engagement I was so sure was next on the list, that I forgot to enjoy the now.

    I can’t speak for you, but I feel like social media adds to the pressures we feel to check off the boxes. I know that watching everyone on facebook get married, have kids, decorate their first house makes me even more anxious about accomplishing these steps in my own life. Reading wedding blogs, and building a fun group of friends on Twitter makes things harder too.

    Ultimately, I think one of the biggest milestones we can check off our lists is to learn to be happy with where we are. I’m not there yet, but I want to be.

  39. says

    Oh Erin, this resonates so much with me. I will be 29 in six months. I always thought I’d be pregnant by thirty, which means start trying soon. But we live in a tiny condo, and want to wait to build on some property I own. Which we will not be able to afford for years. I have house fever so bad, and with the advent of everyone in our circle being preggo, I am starting to feel left behind. It’s so irrational! Yet I look at houses everyday. It’s all unnecessary stress I put on myself for some unknown reason. I’m right where I need to be, and I need to chill while God handles everything. Easier said than done, I guess.

    Wow, that was my ramble for the day!

  40. says

    Amazing post. You are clearly not alone in this thinking. I’m in a similar state right now- working on buying a house and getting ready to start a family. Life is NOT scripted and yet so often we fall into these expected “nexts” off our life list. Yet somehow NOT living for the next thing sometimes feels like not living life to its fullest. I think, just in the moments of composing this response, that finding balance should be the next “next” on my list!

  41. says

    You put this so well, Erin. I am so guilty of living in tomorrow and missing the opportunity to soak in all that today has to offer. Recently this has been coming up in terms of our house as well. We’ve been here a little over a year and know we are selling next spring but I’m already pouring over listings, looking at new furniture, etc… I think that there are things about our house I know I can’t change and don’t like so it is easier to fantasize about the next thing. A dangerous prospect because anything can change in time (like not being able to move) and what if I applied that logic to other areas of my life? Disaster. Thank you for making me think and also reminding me I am not alone in these feelings.

  42. says

    Ah! I am so glad that you posted this! I struggle so much with contentment. I struggle because the Big Events that I think should have happened or should be happening soon have not or are not on my horizon. I will be 25 this year, I know that is still young, but some things that I envisioned within my plan of life before or during the time of 25 have not happened yet: No engagement, not even a boyfriend, no home of my own, no amazing life changing career. So I put all this pressure on myself to make these things happen or I feel so much pity because these things did not fall into the time line that I thought they should have. It is hard to just rest. Not wait and worry but just rest. When you rest things can naturally happen. When you fret and worry you miss the today of it all.

  43. Mary says

    Hi, I’ve never commented before but have been reading your blog for awhile. I just felt like I had to comment when I read your post today. My husband is graduating from medical school this spring, and is in the process of applying for a residency. To make a long story short, we basically have very little control over where we’ll be living for the next 4-5 years and we won’t find out where that will be for several more weeks. I totally psyched myself out about this over the past 6ish months-freaking out about buying a house, etc, etc. Anyway, the past few weeks, I’ve tried to just sit back, enjoy my hobbies, and relax during this time – and you know what? It’s been just great! I just tell myself, there’s nothing I can do right now, so I might as well enjoy it. I know that’s not everyone’s situation, but it’s been something I’ve been working through lately.

  44. says

    Thank you for being so honest and willing to admit this! I share so many of these traits and thoughts and it’s comforting to know I’m not the only one out there who seemingly thrives on having a lot going on. This past summer alone I graduated from grad school, started a new career, bought my first home, and got married. It was insane! If anyone figures out the key to “living in the present” please share!

  45. says

    Thanks for such an honest post, and you articulated so well what I’ve been feeling/thinking for a while. I’m such a planner that at times it feels like I’m just waiting to cross that item off the to do list, and not taking the time to appreciate everything else that is going on around me.

    The comment a few above mine, The Waspy Redhead, I couldn’t have said it better 🙂
    “Ultimately, I think one of the biggest milestones we can check off our lists is to learn to be happy with where we are. I’m not there yet, but I want to be.”
    I’m trying to remind myself that my life isn’t a to do list, but a journey to be enjoyed! (even if that means I never end up completing my full list!)

  46. Jessica says

    Wow..this post really struck a chord with me! I’ve always struggled with the mentality of checking all the appropriate boxes and often feel like I’m rushing around, trying to grab all of the life experience I can. In theory that sounds good but in practice it is exhausting! I’ve always struggled with contentment and living in the moment, and I feel like it’s escalated since I got engaged. Why is it so hard to celebrate little joys instead of looking ahead to the next one?

    A friend recently recommended the book “The Happiness Project” that focuses on finding contentment in different areas of your life. I’m definitely going to check it out!

  47. says

    Wow I actually posted something almost identical yesterday! I feel the exact same way you do…I’m always looking towards the future and find it difficult to live in the present. I’m currently at that point where I know my boyfriend and I plan to get married, but I’m waiting out (very impatiently) for the engagement to happen…very similar to what you were saying in your post! So I know exactly where you’re coming from! 🙂

  48. says

    I could have written this post! My big milestone that I want to hit right now is having a baby. We haven’t even been married a year yet, but right when the wedding was over, I was already looking towards the next big thing… babies. My poor husband has had to listen to me go on about it for almost a year. We’re going to start trying in June, but I really wish I could just enjoy the single married time and not keep looking towards what’s next.

  49. says

    Girl, seriously, I am the SAME way. Except that I’m waaaaay late on my timeline, and I’m just sitting around waiting on LC to ask me to marry him. The waiting is the annoying part……

  50. says

    Im pretty sure that I have written this same post in my head 100 times! It is always that feeling of life will be perfect when…… I get my big house, have my 2 babies, I can decorate just the way I want. I struggle with these things on a daily basis. I sit and daydream all day long of everything being planned and perfect 🙂 When the reality is that my life is perfect just where Im at right now! Thanks for sharing this Erin!

  51. says

    This posting nearly brought tears to my eyes!! If you look at my blog, you will see that’s it’s all about “the next big things”…I’m just now engaged and getting married in June. I am following the same process though, that imaginary checklist in my head. I do wonder why this happnens and obviously it happens to most of us out there! I think the relationship that you have with God will definitely help you through it and I think it’s AMAZING that you posted these concerns and realized your struggles…a lot of people don’t see these challenges until later when a lot more time has passed. I say that we all just keep praying and that God will reveal HIS plans to us (maybe slowly, but he surely will).

  52. Cam says

    Thank you for this honest and refreshing post. I am so right there with you. I love my life and know how truly blessed I am (married to my best friend, wonderful family and friends, a pup I just adore, good job, etc), but lately I have been a little impatient and unsure of what’s next. We aren’t ready to have a baby just yet, aren’t ready to move just yet, aren’t sure about some big project going on… and things just seem in limbo. I’m a planner too so this makes these things extra hard. You aren’t alone and from all of the great comments you got, I think it must be pretty normal too!

  53. katie says

    So very relateable. I love reading your blog and this especially hit home. After I finally got my degree I decided I was ready to date someone seriosly. A year later I met my now boyfriend. Once I knew I loved him I’ve been looking forward to getting engaged and probably turned into the exact girlfriend I never wanted to be. He knows I want to get engaged, we talk about it a lot. But I finally explained to him the other day “I don’t want be engaged to be engaged- I’m ready to be your wife and start our life together.” For me its not about the wedding, but after it- for his and my life to be our life, our house, our joint decisions. And I’m already trying to keep my head in check about the baby stuff because I’m 28 and I’ve said I’d like to start trying when I’m 30. But in between then we have to get engaged, get married, move about 2 or 3 times, and get new jobs in the city we plan to settle in. And like you and many other people on here, I’m trying to pray more for God to take away the anxiousness and the over planning and just help me to enjoy the NOW.
    You have not reached the end of your milestones- you still have the terrible-twos to experience, the first words and steps, the sight of your kids playing with eachother, first days of school, the anniversaries of your marriage, new houses, new cars, new vacations and on and on. Life is constantly changing and you will find more and more milestones that will eventually define not just you but your family. So good luck with this and keep writing!

  54. says

    I think there’s an element of human nature to this. I’m kind of the same way. You bring up a good question about finding contentment without needing a “next big thing” to look forward to. Maybe we get so accustomed to always having something big to look forward to in our 20s and 30s, that we’re not sure what to do without one. I’m confident that someday when my babies are all born and off to school, we have our “forever” house, and my husband and I have settled into a more mundane existence, I will find contentment in my life just the way it is. I think then I’ll spend my energy on hobbies and other things I enjoy in the present, rather than constantly thinking about the future.

  55. says

    You just described me completely. I often think of having another baby-and I just had my third. Yes, I want that precious baby but I think a large part of it is also not knowing what else to do. It is strange to think of not having that expectation of pregnancy again. It is strange to think about my life as being settled and now I just need to live it….

    So..yeah. Right there with you.

  56. says

    When you talk about your “checklist”, you are actually talking about your life goals. There’s nothing wrong with having these goals– in fact, it would be wrong for you to have no goals in life and work towards nothing.

    The difference is what you do once you meet your life goals. Contemplate on the goals you’ve already met and find enjoyment in what you have. If you are constantly looking forward to the next phase you will regrettably miss out in what you’ve already accomplished.

    It’s kind of like buying shoes– if you’re always obsessed with the newest shoe to hit the shelves at Saks, you will never be able to enjoy the ones you already own. What a disservice it is to the shoes in your closet!

  57. says

    I most definitely do this. It was nice to hear that I am not alone. I am about to graduate and I feel like all I do is plan and then get impatient waiting for the next big thing. I have a time-line like you did- I’m just skipping the grad school part and hopping right into a job (fingers crossed), and then hopefully marriage.(PS. I go to school where you got married!) Your post was a good reminder that each day is a blessing and I need to live it as such!

  58. says

    Oh my… this post totally speaks to me. I’ve felt that way my entire life too, and where I am right now? Scares me to death.
    I feel like for me it’s been graduate from high school, go to college, get into law school, go to law school.
    Well. In less than 90 days I’m going to be a law school graduate. Now what?
    How can it be that I’m not even 25 years old and I’ve already accomplished everything that I thought would make my life worthwhile? It seems like the only thing left for me is date someone, get engaged, get married, have babies, etc., but none of those things are in my control, which is pretty frightening since it’s not something I have any control over.
    How can it be that I’m about to be a lawyer and feel like compared to people I know/know of who graduated from high school, got married, and had babies, I’ve done nothing, simply because I’m single? Ooooohweeee that sounds SO pathetic. But you can’t help how you feel, right?

    I just always try to remember that God has a plan for me…. and clearly part of it is learning to be PATIENT!

  59. says

    I feel you. I think that the importance of having a checklist lies on the grounds of the need to go on and have goals to inspire you.

    But at the same time its also good to think about if those things really matter so much. Sit back, take a deep breath and ask yourself “Does this really matter?, are the MY goals or someone elses? Am I just taught to want this?”. Sometimes we get lost when we try to fit in someones elses shoes and when the shoes are gone (aka the checklist is done) we are left wondering. I have had this problem, and I’m still wondering what I want to be “when I grow up”. I think eventually your checklist will fill itself if you just wait. 😉

    (Sorry for the misspelt grammar etc. english isnt my first language, but hope you get what I’m trying to say 😉

  60. says

    I totally have this problem. I’ve been with my boyfriend for a year and a half. All I can think about is getting freaking engaged. I know he loves me, I know I love him. Why am I SO obsessed? I wish I knew!!

  61. says

    I have definitely been accused of this type of behavior from my parents. I think it’s really a generational thing (and maybe a type-A thing?)! I am 25 and feel like my life is defined by the big moments and “what’s next.” I have done this since I was a kid. I think also as we grow up we’re so used to milestones (school, holidays, etc) that once we don’t have any of them definitively anymore, it’s unsettling. You are certainly not alone! =)

  62. says

    I ABSOLUTELY do these things! I needed that label of “engaged” too… we got married last May and now here I am (happily married) but not feeling “content” in my life stage right now… what’s next? We got a house in September and so that has kept my mind busy… but now that the new-ness has worn off, both in the marriage and the house, I find myself saying “ok, now what?” is that just terrible! I should be rejoicing that I have a house and have a loving husband… is that not enough? It is “enough” but why do I feel the need to see what’s going to happen next. I need to get a puppy 🙂 haha!

    Thanks so much for posting this – lets me know I’m not alone!

  63. says

    I completely agree with you! I got engaged about a year ago, married in October, got a new puppy two days later, I finish my graduate degree in May. We haven’t bought a house yet (and frankly aren’t sure that’s the direction for us), so the next big thing is a baby. We agreed on a year, but I’ve been wanting one badly since about the day I woke up a Mrs. We’re currently getting our ducks in a row financially so that we’re stable to start a family, and I feel like I’m counting down the payments left and the days until October. I’m completely happy being a wife, sharing a home with my husband, but I also keep looking toward something. It’s not that I don’t feel satisfied, it just feels as though there’s something bigger to get to.

  64. says

    I am 100% like this. I wish I could be happy and even content with the small things that happen every day. But I’m not. I’m anxious to graduate from college so I can get engaged so I can get married so I can have kids. I want to stop worrying and planning the future, because I know God has it all figured out, and enjoy the present. It’s definately hard though.

  65. says

    I totally know what you mean. I’m in grad school and all I can think about is my husband starting school, moving, and buying a house after he graduates…then having babies. I seriously think sometimes that I am too planned out and just worry about what big thing will happen next. I’ve started to try and think about day to day and be excited about the little things that happen in life and not constantly want and stress about the future.

  66. says

    I totally feel you on this. I planned out my life when I was just starting off in college. Little did I know that plans change and there is no reason to rush life. However, I catch myself feeling like I did not suceed my goals that I set up for myself when I was younger. It’s a hard thing to work on, but I think realizing it is a step in the right direction.

  67. says

    I so feel you on this one! After I passed my medical genetic board exam ( a scrapbook page in my life) I went straight for trying to have a baby. Well…here we are 9 months later and nothing. So I know I want to have a baby and keep trying—but what if it takes another year? or two? What will I do with my time besides work, come home, eat, tv and computer, bed? What are my goals? I don’t really know and I am struggling with how unscripted life is after school.

  68. says

    Yes, I can totally relate! I too have always wanted to move on to the next big thing. I like having a plan. I remember getting out of college, finding a job and thinking “now what?” It wasn’t until recently that I have learned to appreciate being still, being in the moment with family and friends.

    This video by Katrina Kenison (http://www.katrinakenison.com/) really puts things in perspective in regards to enjoying an ordinary day: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=olSyCLJU3O0&feature=player_embedded

    Thanks for your post!

  69. says

    I totally understand, and this is something that I am REALLY struggling with right now. Like you, I wanted to have children two years apart. My son turned one last June and we decided to start trying that month. (We got pregnant with my son the first month we tried, so having trouble never crossed my mind.) I did get pregnant in September (which would put them exactly 24 months apart), but lost the baby in November at 8 weeks. It was devestating. Words cannot describe the emotions. But, we were thrilled to find out in January that we were pregnant again. That pregnancy came to an end last Sunday at 5 1/2 weeks. Again, words cannot describe the emotions. I am struggling with all the “It’s not fair!” and “Why me?” right now. I know God has a plan, but sometimes that phrase is hard to accept when you’ve lost two babies in four months. Anyways, I just wanted to say that I wish I had not put all of these expectations on myself. I don’t think it would have made this time any easier, but I might be easier on myself. (If that makes any sense?!)

  70. says

    Much like the 75 other comment-ers, I SO identify with this and am glad I’m not the only one! I’m currently that “wanting to be engaged girl,” which I hate being but like you with TC, want so badly to get engaged and start the next phase of my life with LAS. This is a great reminder that other people struggle with this and that I need to prioritize being content with life as is! Thanks Erin 🙂

  71. says

    SO glad that you posted this. I was just thinking the same thing the other day. I tell myself “you’re so blessed, can’t you just enjoy what you have and not ‘aim for the next thing’.”

    I’ve been in school the majority of my life and I, too, seem to have this “need” to check things off High school:check, college:check, dental school:check, practicing dentist: check. I’ve set those goals and accomplished them. I’m proud of that. Somehow during that time I managed to maintain a relationship, marry my best friend, buy a house, graduate from dental school, move closer to my family, buy another house… Now what? I find myself with this sick need to set another goal. I had always pictured myself practicing for two years before we talked baby. Two years approaches in June. Am I ready? What do I do after that? What will be my next “life step?” What do I do when I run out? Aren’t I content with the way things are?

    So glad you posted on this today…..makes me feel like I’m not alone!
    PS…I follow you on twitter…could you follow me too? I’d love to reply to you!

  72. says

    Oh my, I think this is your 77th comment, so thank you if you are reading this! I always love reading your blog, and I have to say, even if it sounds creepy, I feel like I look up to you in a way. I think I was two years behind you in school (I graduated from Rhodes in 2007) and found your blog last year. I tell my friends, “She’s so cute, she’s married to this nice man who just started his own law firm, she has a precious baby boy, she’s a stay at home mom, she has an adorable house….” and I daydream about when my life can be like that. I used to really struggle with anxiety and planning for the future, and prayer helps so much. I am currently just nannying, figuring out my future as a first grade teacher, and trying to be content. This is kind of starting to ramble, but I wanted to ask your advice-when you were really eager to get engaged, how did you control yourself? My boyfriend and I have been dating for 2.5 years and talk about getting married, know we want to be together forever, raise a family together, and grow old into the golden years…but I try to be cool, calm and collected and act like there’s no rush, when inside I’m mentally writing up the guest list, registry, all that jazz. I feel crazy! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, I think you’re great!

  73. says

    Where you sitting in my living room last night?? The hubs and I were having this exact same conversation. While I don’t have the baby yet, there are things I want to cross off my list before. And then I start thinking that I’m just scared and keeping adding things to the list when in reality, having a baby is something I’ve always wanted. And then I think do I want to live my life always looking for the next best thing?? Being content is something I struggle with alot. It’s so hard as women to be like this. I think Jesus every day my husband is a level thinker and does not fly off the handle for big decisions bc then we’d be in a hot mess! Life always has worked out for us, even we we are planning. Eph 3:20-21 is my mantra!

  74. says

    This was a great post.

    I’ve been *trying* to be happy and content with getting up, going through the day, and going to bed. It’s hard, sometimes. Especially since I’m still waiting to meet “the one” (so that I can get engaged and then married, lol).

  75. says

    What an interesting post! Your thoughts have definitely inspired me to slow down and attempt to enjoy each day instead of constantly thinking about what big event is coming up next….

  76. Lindsay says

    Erin,
    Aaah! Great post! I – along with a ton of other people apparently! – can completely relate to this. I really need to work on “living in the moment” but I’m such a planner! 😀 Thanks for hitting close to home on this one!

  77. says

    I’m definitely feeling this right now. I’m 25, already married and purchased a house. I’m finishing my masters and we’re waiting until hubs is done with school to have a child. I just feel like I’m in limbo right now. I have nothing big to look forward to within the next year. It’s going to take me 2 years to finish my masters and 3 years for hubs to finish school. Sometimes I get in almost a depressed state about what to do next. I totally indugled myself in wedding planning 2 years ago and now that it’s gone, what do I do? Thank goodness I have been exposed to the blogging world because that takes up a lot of my free time I used for the wedding. I love to be busy!
    I do have any children so I have to tell people with children what to do (even though I could say I have 29 in my classroom), however in my opinion I would give yourself time to have another child. Enjoy Hudson! You’re still young. Wait until he is 2 to even think about having another. Sometimes a little bigger spread is nice. Again, just my opinion. I wish you all the best with your decisions and just keep praying about it. Sooner or later your answer will come.

  78. says

    Sister, you are not alone!! haha! I envy the people that can just have the attitude in life, “We’ll just take it one day at a time, whatever happens will happen when it’s meant to be”. Bleh! When my fiance and I started getting serious I also became obsessed with marriage and the idea of getting engaged. I knew he wasn’t going anywhere, but I feel like I still needed that commitment. What you’re feeling is totally normal. I’m a planner at heart, to a fault, and it definitely shows in my life.

  79. says

    Man oh man does this sum up the way I’ve been feeling lately. I’m at the “have a baby” stage, but I’m just not ready and I feel like my life is being put on hold until I am ready. I just try my best to enjoy the moment I’m in, and it sounds like you are doing the same. Best of luck to you!

  80. says

    I definitely do the same thing! I’m always looking for the next big thing, and am so afraid I’m not living in the moment enough. We aren’t even close to ready to have kids, but I constantly think about when we will be ready and where we’ll live then and what my job situation will be! I wish I could see into the future, when I really just need to relax and enjoy the ride!

  81. Laura says

    i totally understand what you are going through. i think this is pretty common, for women especially, and some men too. depending on your upbringing, it’s almost understood that you graduate from college, get married, have kids and live your life–there are certain things that you HAVE to do. for me, i decided to go back to school less than a year after i got married. this was certainly not in my newlywed plans, but i’ve wanted to go to law school for a long time, and with the support of my husband, i chose to go back to school, while still working part time. this did put a halt in our plans to have children, as we don’t plan on getting pregnant until after i take the bar in 2013. i am a non-traditional student and this is certianly not the way I thought things would be, but i am excited for the future.

  82. Es says

    Wow, talk about a lot of the same comments! Looks like we’re all more similar than I had thought. Not to mention that I’ve been thinking about the same things for the past week/ month. I think it has something to do with the new year starting and wanting to make the most of it.

    To be perfectly honest, I am definitely feeling confused as how I want the next decade of my life to play out. I know that when I have kids I’ll want to stay at home with them rather than send them off to daycare — so that means that I shouldn’t be super self-centered regarding career aspirations during that time period, unless I’m able to bridge the two successfully. Which is another reason why I think having the kids close together would work well.

    What I’ve always thought of doing is going back to school and getting a second degree in something else. I know that I could spend my time developing a hobby or skill but I have the need to master something else. Maybe even go to cooking school, or do what Mojito Maven is doing and take a writing class. Something that really interests me, that I can use in my day to day life. Or perhaps start a small business like Kate has dreams of doing. I also know that I want to travel extensively around the world, so I’ll always have that to look forward to.

    Sometimes I know that as people living in a fast paced, rather competitive world, we feel like we have to make something of ourselves or prove ourselves to someone and say “look at everything I’ve accomplished!” and by doing that we often lose sight of the real meaning of life.

    I was just reading something Roger Ebert had said on his blog, and how he lived his whole life to finally realize what the purpose of life was. He said that he feels that being a good person and doing the best he can to make the world a better place for the people around him is what really matters.

    Life is not always about the destination, it’s about the path traveled and the experiences along the way. We are meant to enjoy the little things along the way.

    I also agree with what another reader posted, and I’ll sum it up with this: your maturing as a person and the (seemingly) small changes that occur are just as exciting. I was talking with my good college friends last week and they were saying that during senior year they would look back and say “wow! I’ve changed so much since I was that small, unassuming freshman. Look at me now!” And now, it’s been 4 years since graduation, it marks the anniversary of “we’ve been out of college for as long as we were in college” and now it’s also a time to reflect on how different we are. It’s exciting to wonder what the next 4 years will hold, but then I always remember that life is never as predictable as we assume it will be (you weren’t planning on starting the Hudson stage of your life this early, but it’s by no means a bad thing). Your life plan should be marked in pencil (with spaces in between for all the unexpected wonderful things to happen).

    PS, my grandmothers are some of the happiest people I know, I’m sure we will all find our calling with time.

  83. says

    Great post Erin, and something I definitely relate to. Especially because I have no big new thing to look forward to, considering that Mr. A and I don’t want to have children. And I have no big career goal looming in the future. I want to have one, but I haven’t found it yet. The only that is getting me through now is future trip planning.

  84. says

    I was JUST having this very conversation at dinner tonight. We are really itching to move into a bigger house and we love our neighborhood. Problem is – the next step up (from townhouse or bungalow to dream home) in this ‘hood is just out of our reach at the moment. We have become total internet real estate junkies – its all we do! I made a decision recently to stop obsessing and just ‘be’ for now.

    I also think this is a woman thing – the “planner” in all of us. You’re definitely not alone!

  85. says

    I have been sooo guilty of this for most of my life! I just can never be satisfied. Even when I’m totally happy, I’m always thinking “ok, what’s next?” glad i’m not alone!

  86. says

    oh yes. erin this post was so honest and rang so true with me. i have felt like this my whole life – like i am always “looking forward” to something or “can’t wait for” something… be it finishing school, or moving, or whatever.

    i’m still looking for whatever it is that is the right balance between pushing myself and feeling good about my life.

  87. says

    Planning should have been my middle name. I relate with this post 100%. I pray for strength to live in the moment but it can be so terribly hard to just feel content. If you ever figure out how, please let me know! It’s funny you use being engaged as an example because I sit impatiently waiting for that next step with my boyfriend, and it’s hard to remember to enjoy the present. Thank you for this post, you really brought it home perfectly.

  88. Apryl says

    You don’t know me but I love your blog and have been following it for a while. I have this exact same problem! I just got married in October and I am already looking/planning in my mind when and what it will be like when we have our first child when I need to just slow down and enjoy where we are right now! There is a great book called Calm my Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow. It is basically about contentment and trusting God to take care of your life and circumstances. I loved it! Glad this is not just me!

  89. says

    WOW! It is so nice to see, not only in your post but all these comments, that I am not the only one who struggles with this. I couldn’t have written a better post about my feelings on living from milestone to milestone. Except I take it a step further and tend to live event to event. We live 12 hours from family and friends, so I tend to count life down by how much time until we see so-and-so – I wish away the weeks and months like it’s no big deal. I am trying to make a conscious effort to do what my blog title says – unwrap every single day as if it was a gift. Some days I do a better job than other, but I’m a work in progress.

  90. says

    Oh honey! It’s so good to hear that other people struggle with this too. I promise that I have the same outlook as you. I want contentment so bad. I want to not feel like I am constantly worrying about the future. Adam reminds me almost daily to not worry about the future, to take it one day at a time.
    About a week ago, I said these exact words to Adam “After we have another baby in about 2 years… what then? What’s next for us. Nothing big will happen for us again!” He said to me, “Lyndsey I can’t believe you said that! There will be monumental times in our childrens life that we get to sit back and enjoy WITH them!” And that really hit home!
    You are not alone here friend. This is something I think a lot of people struggle with. As a fellow sister in Christ, we just have to continue to pray that God will show us how to be content and make sure that we constantly seek His plan for our lives.
    So glad I have you as a dear friend! Love ya!

  91. says

    I could not agree more. I feel the exact same way I waited for so long to get engaged then I got engaged, I wanted to buy a so bad house and we bought a house, then I couldnt’ wait to get married and I got married now I feel like the next logical step is to have a baby and buy a bigger house. I really want a baby but at the same time my husband always wants to know why I’m constantly “rushing” life, why can’t I just enjoy all the blessings that I have right now and just be content. I try so hard to do this but it’s hard not to want to check off each little thing on my life “to-do list.”
    My Mom has told me many times over that she was much more content in her 30s. That she finally realized how to just be and enjoy herself and the moments she had with family and friends. She said she finally learned how to live her own life instead of “keeping up with the Jones”, I’m hoping I come to this realize by the time I’m in my 30s too.

  92. says

    Oh, I can completely relate. This is a battle I face all the time. I just wrote today about how I had been struggling and the Lord brought something to mind. I do pray that God would give me what I need to find contentment in Him alone.

    Thank you so much for sharing your heart.

    I look forward to meeting you in Atlanta! It’s going to be such a wonderful weekend!
    Faith

    http://walkwithmebyfaith.blogspot.com/2010/02/tomb.html

  93. Jo says

    I will soon be turning fifty. I can hardly believe it. I would love to go back and relive all the milestones in my life. I was a stay at home mom for ten years. It was not easy financially to stay home. It was what worked for us at that time. When I was home the days seemed to never end with little ones. They were wonderful, busy, exhausting, frustrating and rewarding all at the same time. Somehow the days seemed to never, end yet the years flew by. Stop, relax, enjoy the home (that is so adorable) that you have now, enjoy what you are doing right now, and realize what a difference you are making in the life of your child. And whether you work at home, from home or outside your home, the most important thing job you will ever have is being a mom. And you will be a mom whether your children are babies, toddlers, tweens, college students or married. And know on those days that are particularly crazy– that the care and love you give your child will help him become a confident, caring, happy and well-adjusted student in a class someday. I teach second grade and love it. It was a career that evolved rather than one that was planned. Don’t plan – let life unfold.

  94. Laura says

    Hi Erin, I’m a long time reader and first time commenter. First of all, I really love your blog 🙂 Thanks for putting it all out there! Hudson is the cutest!!

    I’m feeling a bit this way, too. I’m been with my boyfriend for almost six years, am in my mid-20s and I feel like we’ve taken it sufficiently slow. I want the next step (engagement), so I can look ahead to the future.

    Personally, I think that feeling this need to check it off life’s list is a woman thing. I know I’m a planner and I tend to want to ‘get life in order’. I need to try to step back and appreciate how far I’ve really come! Like you said, look at what happened in the couple of years for you (marriage, baby, etc). That’s amazing! I guess we (me included) can’t expect that there will always be a “scrapbookable” milestone, but that doesn’t mean that what you’re doing with your life isn’t valuable and worthwhile.

    I don’t know if that made sense!
    Anyway, Thanks again for blogging, I really enjoy it.
    xo.

  95. says

    I can absolutely relate to this post on every level. I am turning 30 (in 23 days…eeeeek!) and my life is not even remotely close to what I had pictured for myself at 30! But one thing that I have recently come to terms with is how to be okay with that. How to appreciate the blessings in everyday. I am a definite work in progress but I am starting to try to turn my focus on the here and now and let me tell you, when I do that I feel like a weight is being lifted off of my shoulders. One of my biggest goals lately is to focus on putting more positive energy into the universe so I can get that more positive energy back. (I am a big believer in karma.) So instead of thinking about where I will be in 5 years, or even 1 year, I am just focused on doing things the best I can *right now* so that in 1 year and/or 5 years that best is still translating into my everyday life.

    If that even makes any freaking sense at all. =) Basically what I am saying, in my long winded kind of way, is that you are not alone!

    Love ~ itb
    Lynn

  96. says

    Everyone gets stuck in this same cycle I think. Events a couple of years ago forced me to step away from this and just be content. I think it gradually happens the older you get, but you are certainly at the age where I felt it the most in my life. The checklist is certainly looming, and you somehow feel “less than” if you don’t check things off fast enough. Life feels so much better when you let go of all of that.

    One other comment on the two-year thing. I’ve heard lots of people say they always wanted their kids to be two-years apart but were so glad they waited that extra year that made it three and the kids were still just as close, but made things much easier on the parents.

  97. says

    Thanks so much for the post and your honesty! I read it and thought, “AHA!” That’s what my struggle is right now. So, thanks to you…another blog post was born of your post. Hope you don’t mind too much… 🙂

  98. says

    I am the same way!! As soon as I check something off my list, something else is added. I am slowly learning to slow down and just enjoy life and cherish what you have for that day. God’s timing is always perfect!!

  99. says

    Couldn’t have said it better myself. Yes, yes, yes, I can relate.

    Scanning the excellent comments others have left you, I really like that Philippians verse Newlyweds Next Door mentioned. How comforting to know there is a reason for the timing of what we do, even if we struggle sometimes with patience to understand that timing.

  100. says

    I can completely relate to this post. Right now I am so worried about the choices that I make and how they will impact the future of my family. I have been praying and asking for peace so that I can just sit back and enjoy the moment. I am so worried about trying so hard to plan for the next big thing that I miss out on the here and now.

    I completely understand about the house situation. My husband I are living in the condo that I bought in college. It has plenty of space for us and I love the floor plan, but I am anxious to move and set up the house that we will bring our children home to. We found the perfect house but then someone put in an offer literally hours before we could. I trust that God has a plan for us, but I am struggling to trust him and not my own plans.

    Thanks so much for sharing! You were brave to put this out there!

  101. says

    I can identify with this post unfortunately. I tend to think WHEN IS IT MY TURN when all of my friends around me are getting engaged and having babies. I want it NOW. It’s just hard to be happy and let things happen as they are supposed sometimes.

  102. Great post!!! says

    This is a wonderful heartfelt post! You are helping more people than you know by putting this out there!!

    I am quite a bit older than you and a lot of my “firsts” are long over, but I can remember my “checklist” like it was yesterday. Having checked most things off and having been blessed with a wonderful life and family, I have to admit that planning for the great life is sometimes more exciting than actually living it. I tended to push things, like wanting the ring, the wedding, the house, the baby……the next baby……the next house……the next car…….because the excitement of wanting these things and designing what life would be once i had these things was addicting. I never stopped to think about what life would be like once everything was in place. And while it is awesome and I wouldn’t change a thing, it is not at all as I dreamed or envisioned…..at least on a daily basis its not. Its cleaning, laundry, bills, kids schools, activities, work, etc etc. All the things I dreamed of but totally not as glamorous as my mind made it out to be!!! 🙂

    I now live by the old cliche “life is a journey, not a destination”. I am excited to not have the next big thing planned out and to just live the life I’m given and see where things take us. Having it to do over again I would tear up my checklist and live life in the moment because you can’t plan happiness no matter how hard you try (except for the happiness I plan each day reading your blog 🙂

  103. says

    This is a really beautiful post, and I can relate to it so well. Lately I’ve been feeling like I’ve somehow missed something, or am in limbo somehow, because I feel as though I’ve become obsessed with getting engaged. My boyfriend and I have been together 5.5 years and have talked about it, so I know that it is coming, but I can’t help but want it to happen NOW and I feel like I’ve become one of “those girls,” who only think about engagements! I am really trying to calm down and be happy with everything else, and find the good in my life, but some days, it isn’t easy at all!

  104. Amanda says

    I’m glad you wrote about this! Even though I’m young and definitely not ready to get married, I struggle with this sometimes. I always thought I’d finish college, get an amazing job, go to grad school at night, meet the one, get married, etc….just as you said. So now I’ve got my college degree and although I know I want to go to graduate school, I’m out in Aspen working in retail. I’m surrounded by single people much older than me and often wonder, “So when are you planning on settling down…”real” job, getting married…?” I guess I’ve just realized that you just have to take things as they come and enjoy the moment you’re in right now…not to say it isn’t something I think about often.

  105. says

    Hi Erin. So I just reas this post and (1.5 years later) can totally relate! Great words! Now I’m wondering how you feel about the age difference between Hudson and Hayes. Do you think it has been easier or harder having them so close together? I only ask because my son is 9 months and my hubby has started talking about having another one. Any thoughts? Thanks!

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